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Saturday, 3 June 2017


Author and Illustrator: Emma Dodd
Publisher: Templar Publishing, 2010 as a free edition Bookstart book

The Templar Publishing books by Emma Dodd (in hardback) are the perfect books to give to new parents (titles include You..., Sometimes... and When..., and as above, Me...), and more importantly I think, as there's a real dearth in books for this market, they're perfect books for 'newly placed' adoptees (and as presents for new adoptive parents). Why? because these books espouse a rhetoric of unconditional love, a wholly important message for all young children, but adoptees especially, as feeling safe, secure and loved is a huge part of attachment building. 
What is particularly interesting about the messages in these books, are that the protagonists (generally a young animal, so for example, in Me..., it's a penguin chick) are not 'straightforward' . In Me... the baby penguin is feels very small and insignificant compared to his colony counterparts and the world around him; he says, 'the world is big, but I am small, and several incantations of this beat out throughout the book. At the end of the story he feels reassured, 'I may be small, but I can see, the biggest thing to you is me':   

In Sometimes...a baby elephant is exploring the world, and occasionally he finds himself  pitching his behaviour incorrectly, so squirting water and scaring flamingos away for example. While his behaviour is 'sometimes' a challenge, the parent elephant is always there, and loves him in the face of everything and for all of his behaviours. There's an acceptance here that the young are learning, and learning means making mistakes, and that consequently, it's okay to make mistakes. These messages of commitment, acceptance, love and security are important offerings to all children, but again, to vulnerable children foremost, no matter what their age. 

Just as the latest Bookstart free book for children is launched (Every Bunny Dance) and entered our house via the library this week, I wanted to thank Bookstart especially for this previous title. Me...came out in 2010 and has been treasured in our house. Me... is a lovely, soothing bedtime read, very calming, quiet and sincere. These Emma Dodd books are prefect of young babies and toddlers, with the latter titles including texture on the pages, such as shiny silvery paper representing 'water' for the elephant to wallow in and spray. The illustrations are simple, with small colour palettes used and various artistry techniques (eg. What looks like sponging, crayon and collage to me (but I might be wrong), and these techniques give the illustrations depth and visual texture (particularly in setting the scene of this vast and frozen Antarctica in Me...). 

To conclude, perfectly themed, attractive looking books to buy for friends and family on the birth or adoption of children. Highly recommended. 

If you like this book, you may also like: No Matter What by Debi Gilori

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